Yesterday afternoon, while live Tweeting Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s live streamed keynote from Oracle OpenWorld I saw a Tweet in my #oow11 stream saying that the AP had just reported that Steve Jobs had died. A quick search on Twitter yielded enough information to corroborate the story and I join with my colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumbler in sharing some of our sorrow and our respect to a very great man, a visionary, an icon, a leader and a hero. I did that at first on my current generation MacBook Air and later from my iPad 2 and my iPhone 4. Apple fan boy…you can call me that, I don’t care because I use products that just work from a company that has managed to change the way we use technology. For Jobs, it was always about the user experience and for me, as a user of technology, I eventually learned that the experience I craved was delivered by that little company in Cupertino.
My own involvement with the Apple brand came to it quite late by comparison to many of my friends and colleagues. I’ve always loved technology and particularly new gadgets but I somehow ended up on the PC side of the Mac v. PC war, without really ever trying a Mac I should add. My first Apple product was the 1st generation iPod. I love music and had hundreds of CD’s, so the concept of accessing so much music and being able to carry it around with me in a small and elegant package definitely drew me in. Add to that the real innovation of iTunes and I was really hooked. I think I’ve owned 7 versions of the iPod for my personal use and if you add in my 2 daughters and gifts to friends have purchased 16 total. Next came the iPhone, I’ve owned every version except the AT&T iPhone 4. My experiences with the iPhone eventually led me to the Mac computing experience and that too, changed my expectations on using a computer. Of course I had to try the iPads as well, and it quickly found its way into my regular device rotation. There’s something about the experience with Apple that is unlike any other tech brand, and most of that is because of Jobs.
When someone great dies you imprint your memory of that event, the details of where you are, what you were doing…people like John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, John Lennon…a few others; last night will join those memories. The world needs heroes, I need heroes and for me, Jobs is certainly one of them. I am keenly interested in leadership and innovation, something that I’ve studied for many years and written about many times. In our time, if you look at either topic very long, you are led to Jobs. Once you start looking at him, his career, his life, you realize just how much he contributed to the world. Here’s a quote that I often refer to, words to live by:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” From Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005
What did we learn from him?
- Don’t settle for mediocrity
- Trust in yourself
- Do what you say, say what you do
- Don’t be afraid to fail but learn from your mistakes
- You can be innovative and cool after your 20’s
- The future doesn’t look like the past
- Don’t be afraid to discard old thinking when it doesn’t work
- Keep it simple and focus on the user experience
- The details do matter
- Love what you do
- Your time is limited, so don’t waste it (yes, I know I said that twice, but it bears repeating)
I’ll leave you with this: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Stay hungry, stay foolish.